|07TRIPOLI1063||2007-12-27 15:50:00||SECRET//NOFORN||Embassy Tripoli|
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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 001063
1. (S/NF) Summary: Libya's newly-constituted National Security
Council continues to experience growing pains. A shortage of
skilled staff, questions about its mandate, and friction between
National Security Adviser Mutassim al-Qadhafi and some senior
GOL officials have limited the NSC's organizational
effectiveness, although al-Qadhafi remains "ambitious" and
continues to work to expand his area of influence. End summary.
2. (S/NF) Dr. Hind Siala, Director of Libya's National Security
Council (strictly protect), told P/E Chief that the NSC, formed
earlier this year (reftel), was experiencing growing pains.
Noting that the NSC's staff had grown in size, she cited a
continuing shortage of skilled, trained individuals as an
impediment to greater organizational effectiveness. The NSC had
to date pulled most of its staff from other GOL entities,
including the External Security Organization, Internal Security
Organization, General People's Committee for Foreign Cooperation
and International Liaison (MFA) and Ministry of Justice. Siala
noted that training and skill sets among staff drawn from other
organizations varied considerably.
3. (S/NF) Other organizations were initially more willing to
provide staff, she said, in part because they feared
repercussions if they refused requests from a son of Leader
Muammar al-Qadhafi; however, the NSC's policy of aggressively
identifying and attempting to lure quality staff had begun to
engender resentment and a sense that the NSC was pursuing its
staffing needs at the expense of other GOL agencies. Siala
mentioned that the MFA had successfully resisted an attempt in
late November by the NSC to request that a well-regarded MFA
employee be detailed to the NSC (NFI).
NATIONAL SECURITY TRAINING ACADEMY IN THE WORKS?
4. (S/NF) Noting a lack of basic professional skills, Siala
specifically mentioned a shortage of employees who could take
notes in meetings and draft memoranda of conversations.
Describing National Security Adviser Mutassim al-Qadhafi as a
"dynamic" individual given to holding many meetings, she
complained that the dearth of qualified working-level employees
meant that more senior staff members such as herself were often
pressed into service as notetakers. She indicated that
al-Qadhafi, responding to suggestions from his advisers, is
moving to establish a National Security Training Academy that
would train staff for the NSC and other GOL entities with
national security and foreign policy equities. Pointing to the
poor quality of Libya's educational system, she conceded that
the NSC and other GOL entities were "suffering" from the fact
that comparatively few Libyans were able to engage in critical
thinking and writing of a sort that lent itself to more
sophisticated exercises such as drafting analytical reports.
(Note: We understand that the UK Embassy in Tripoli has
discussed with her possible training opportunities in the UK for
NSC terrorism analysts. End note.)
MUTASSIM'S AMBITION CREATES FRICTION WITH SOME
5. (S/NF) Siala noted that the NSC as an organization is still
trying to define its role within the GOL. It remains "a bit
unclear" whether the NSC is to serve as an interagency
coordinating mechanism, or as a formulator and implementer of
policy in its own right. Responding to a question about whether
her principal's personality might have something to do with
that, she conceded that Mutassim al-Qadhafi is "ambitious" and
said he is still working to "create a space" in which to work
cooperatively with other senior GOL officials. She implied that
doubts among some senior members of the GOL's old guard about
TRIPOLI 00001063 002 OF 002
whether Mutassim was substantively qualified for his position,
together with his increasingly obvious desire to grow his
fiefdom, had created friction with unnamed others in the
leadership. Indicating that the MFA and "some security
organizations" had been particularly resistant to the NSC's
attempts to expand its brief, she said the Ministry of Public
Security (MinInterior-equivalent) and armed forces had been less
6. (S/NF) According to Siala, the NSC's membership is as
follows: PM al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi (chairman); National
Security Adviser Mutassim al-Qadhafi; Foreign Minister
Abdulrahman Shalgham; Minister of Public Security
(MinInterior-equivalent) Rajib Saleh; Minister of Economy and
Trade Essawi; Minister of Finance Muhammad Ali al-Hweij; and
Chief of Defense Major General Abubakr Yunis Jafr. It is
believed that Jafr encumbers the seat reserved for a
"representative of the Temporary General People's Committee" per
Law Number Four of 2007, which established the NSC.
7. (S/NF) Comment: Siala's suggestion that Mutassim's ambitions
have caused friction with others in the leadership accords with
the view of some local observers that Mutassim is an
increasingly important player in the political firmament.
Determining how he is perceived as a potential successor to his
father, particularly by key members of his father's cohort of
contemporaries, remains something of an open question, however.
There are reports that putative heir apparent Saif al-Islam
al-Qadhafi is out of favor with some segments of the leadership,
due to his public participation in the messy denouement of the
Bulgarian nurses' case, and his championing of economic reforms.
8. (U) Biographical note: Siala, who was trained as a pharmacist
and previously served as Libya's ambassador to Valletta, serves
as a combination of chief-of-staff and senior special assistant
to Mutassim al-Qadhafi. She is married to a Libyan businessman
who, somewhat unusually, is several years her junior. She is
the niece of Deputy Foreign Minister Muhammad Siala.